Criticism over Luton Airport application

AS AN immenent application to double to size of Luton Airport looms closer, fresh criticism has come from those who oppose the plans.

Speaking ahead of the planning application, which is expected to be submitted next month, MP Stephen McPartland said he would continue to fight the expansion.

He also criticised a motion passed last week by Stevenage Borough Council, which came out in favour of the expansion.

“Unfortunately, I am not surprised as this is just another example of Stevenage Borough Council clearly showing it does not care about local people,” said Mr McPartland.

“However, the motion they have passed is irrelevant just like the council and has no influence on the decision whatsoever.”

He added: “I will continue to lead the campaign with the Comet to oppose the expansion of Luton Airport and stop a plane flying over our homes every 90 seconds. We will continue sticking up for Stevenage and fighting for local people.”

North Herts District Council (NHDC) also criticised the airport’s plans this week.

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It follows comments published in a report by its officers this week, which were also sent to the airport as part of a consultation.

The council claims the expansion would have a detrimental effect on the district.

“North Herts District Council has submitted a response in agreement with the portfolio holder for planning and transport to the pre-application of the proposed expansion of Luton Airport, highlighting concerns about the impact that more aircraft noise and additional traffic on the road network in North Hertfordshire would have on residents,” said David Scholes, NHDC’s chief executive for planning & transport.

“That response is referred to in the report to the council’s cabinet in November.”

Concerns that Luton Borough Council – which owns the airport – will decide the outcome of the planning application are increasing.

The Comet approached the council to ask for its response to those worries.

A spokesman said: “The council’s role as local planning authority is entirely separate to that as shareholder of London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL). Each is run wholly independently of each other with their respective functions entirely separate.

“Any planning application that is submitted by London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL) would be subject to statutory consultations undertaken by the council as the local planning authority and would be dealt with impartially, fairly and transparently.

“Any decision subsequently made by the council’s development control committee would have regard to all material planning considerations, including the responses of consultees, and would be based on sound judgements that would therefore need to be supported by clear planning reasons and taken in accordance with the relevant policies in the development plan.”